Student on long Loose rein.
One of the things I see happen, a lot, at clinics and just riding in general is folks hanging on to their horses with their hands. They have the reins short and the horse is always feeling contact with the riders hands. Now I know that some folks that ride english or do that dressage, want contact with their horses when they are working, and I do too, to some extent, but what I see is folks using the horses mouth to keep their balance, not the balance of the horse, but the rider is using their horses mouth to keep their balance in the saddle. And what I see is horses getting ticked off and tossing their heads from side to side trying to figure a way out of this deal.
Silke and Lucy on a loose rein.
Riding a long loose rein, if you have been hanging on all your life, is not an easy thing to wrap your head around. You have to trust that your horse is not going to run off with you. And that takes time to develop that confidence in your horse. I teach exercises to help the person and the horse to trust each other to let this happen. But a rider must learn this skill or the horse will never trust you and will fight you every step of the way.
At the clinic this past weekend, Kathy and I saw folks make great strides in riding on a loose rein. They could not believe how calm their horses got and how much more control they seem to have over them. It took sometime for some of the students, all day, but when they did it you could see the light in their eyes. A huge leap in their horsemanship. A person needs to start slow. The horse will be so use to being held on to he won't know whats going on at first, but when he feels you relax as you become more confident, he will relax too and his confidence will grow and his trust in you will as well...
Had two riding lessons yesterday, Stan and Ruth. They both had their lesson together which was great. They are both at different levels in their education but I think they thought it was nice to have someone else riding with them. They could watch and learn stuff from each other. They are both doing great and really focus on the work at hand when they are there.
My neighbor Mark and some of his family were down for a bit and I took them on a little trail ride around the ranch. Joe, Mark's son in law is a very capable person. A hunting guide in Alaska, very fit young man, but horses were something he never had much need for. Was proud to see him work at a skill that he has never had to think about. Riding a living, thinking, breathing animal is a little different the a four wheeler, but Joe did great. Am looking forward to spending some time with him again in the future..
Now time for coffee.
Will try and keep you updated with info on what the heck I'm doing with horses and music.